3D Animation For All Thanks To Google AI

Google rarely fails to impress with technology demos. Their latest — Monster Mash — is aimed at using artificial intelligence to allow the creation of simple 3D animations without a lot of training or trouble. We’ll warn you: we aren’t artists so we didn’t get the results the demos were showing, but then again, if you are even a little artistic, you’ll probably have better luck than we did. You might want to start watching the video, below.

There’s also a research paper if you are more interested in the technology. The idea is to make simple line drawings in 2D. Then you inflate the object to 3D. The final step is to trace out animation paths.

It sounds simple, but there are a few things you need to know. The object’s main body needs to be a closed stroke. After that, you can draw open shapes to cue the system that they are body parts. Drawing with a right click puts objects behind existing objects and double-clicking a shape creates a symmetric copy (for example, a right and left leg).The inflation step has some high-power math behind it, while the final step is to create control points on the model and deform them to produce the appearance of movement.

The project had contributors from the Czech Technical University, ETH Zürich, and the University of Washington. The code is open source, too.

10 thoughts on “3D Animation For All Thanks To Google AI

  1. I didn’t get to compiling the source listed on GitHub but I did try out the web version linked to in the readme. It was not nearly as whelming as what is shown here but nonetheless my 7 year old would totally flip her wig if they can get this to a refined state!

  2. In three years: Headlines will read: Google has sent messages to millions of users of the popular art service, MonsterMash, that after {{ date }} they will no longer be able to create new monsters and after {{ date2 }}, users will no longer be able to access the monsters already mashed through the popular program. “I can’t believe they’re just ending the service without warning,” said User X who’s been using the service since it’s introduction in 2021. “I have all of my work on the service and am going to have to start over or lose my livelihood,” User X added. MonsterMash joins the ever growing list of Google services started and abandoned by the company shortly after acquisition or introduction. Just this year we’ve seen several popular hardware and services come to an end such as Stadia, Google’s attempt to enter the gaming market, Duo, it’s Android video messaging app, and Fitbit, the popular fitness tracking hardware company which Alphabet, Google’s parent holding company, acquired in 2019 during the start of the 2020 pandemic. Google’s head of communications said in a statement that “Google was dedicated to providing its customers with valuable services and focusing on its core products that add enrichment to its portfolio of advertising and affiliate networks.” Google made no comment regarding how their products feel about ending their data contribution and losing being a part of Google’s portfolio. Although they did mention that their users would likely benefit from the shift in focusing on offering their data to new marketing affiliates.

    1. If you read the article you’ll note the code is open source and under the Apache-2.0 License.

      In the time it took you to write that rant you could have read the article and cloned the repository for yourself.

      1. Google abandons [blank] is practically a meme at this point. Even the things that make them money (maps) get the joke treatment. Anyway I see this being incorporated into other open-source projects.

      2. Who says I didn’t? You missed the joke, the site they put up is a PoC, not an actual service but the joke remains. BTW, just because it’s open source doesn’t mean Google isn’t putting it out to pasture. Anyone remember Google Wave? Recently, opening the source and abandoning the project is precisely how Google has been giving up. Making something open source doesn’t mean it will live in in infamy. There is still a ton of work that will need to be done to make something useful of that code. Online service like the demo? That code will be the smallest part of that plan. Incorporated it into an existing product? Operative word there is “existing,” meaning if you don’t have a product in the first place you’ve got work to do. Don’t fall for the “it’s open source so they must be trying to be nice,” especially with AI and ML projects where the training data they kept to themselves is much more valuable than how they tweaked the GAN. Without that data, you’re stuck trying to recreate that fit. Fortunately, most of this is good of fashion c++

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